Apply to Join

Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change

by MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change
Paulina: Kenyan farmer and climate defender
Paulina: Kenyan farmer and climate defender

Meet Paulina, an Indigenous woman farmer from the rural town of Chepareria in West Pokot, Kenya. When you first meet her, she seems quiet and reserved. But ask her about her farm, and she comes alive with excitement.

Where she lives in Chepareria with her eight daughters, Indigenous families like hers depend on the land for food and income – for their survival.

But the impacts of climate change make farming harder every day. “The biggest challenge of farming now,” she told us, “is drought.”

East Africa is facing its worst drought since 1945 with millions of people on the brink of survival. The dry months are getting longer and longer. Access to water is scarce. Women and girls – traditionally tasked with collecting water – have to travel farther distances to dwindling streams to find what little exists. This makes farming – Paulina’s livelihood – all the more difficult.

But Paulina is not easily deterred.

Seven years ago, she met Lucy Mulenkei, leader of our Kenyan partner organization, the Indigenous Information Network. With MADRE’s support, Lucy works with Indigenous women farmers in rural Kenya to help them adapt to climate change threats, including by training them to harvest rainwater. Paulina has been attending our trainings for many years. With your support, she has learned new methods to implement on her farm.

For example, Paulina learned to set up a rainwater collection tank. And it has made all the difference on her farm. That’s because the tank collects and stores enough water during the rainy season that she can water her crops during the worsening dry season. What’s more, it means that she and her daughters no longer have to walk for hours in search of ever more distant water sources.

Paulina loves to farm. She spends her days on her land, turning the soil, planting seeds and tending to her crops. Others farms in her community that don’t have rainwater tanks risk devastation by lingering drought, with crops failing and plants withering away. But not Paulina’s. Over the years, with the help of her rainwater collection tank and other strategies she’s learned through MADRE and IIN, her farm has flourished, thanks to donors like you.

It was a small farm at first,” she told us. “I grew maize, beans and cassava to sell in the markets and earn income. Through the years, my income and water tank helped me grow my farm.

Now, she’s added ever more new crops to her farm: a wide variety of vegetables, mangos, avocados and more. And she sells her surplus produce in local markets. She invests the money she earns back into her family. “I use my income to improve my house, to clothe my children and to take them to the doctor when they are sick,” she told us.

But there’s another reason Paulina works so hard on her farm. You see, Paulina never went to school. In her community, educating girls is not seen as a priority.

But she wanted something different for her daughters. So, every day, she worked in the fields. She worked hard so that she could give her daughters a chance at what she never had — an education. And she succeeded. With money she raised from her crops, she paid for tuition and books, and she was able to send all eight of her daughters to school!

Not only do her daughters receive the education that Paulina was denied. Just imagine the ripple effects. When a girl goes to school, it helps to grow her confidence. It opens her horizons and enables her to step up as a community leader.

All my children are girls, and they are all going to school. I am very proud of them,” she shared with us with a large smile on her face.

We asked Paulina what she is most proud of. “When I started my home, I started with empty hands, with nothing. But now, I have a farm, I have food, and all my girls are in school. I’m proud of my children. And I am proud of my hands that work hard to make something.”

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

When women come together, powerful changes can happen. Here’s an inspiring example of how. It’s the story of Hellen and Sylvia, two Indigenous women in Kenya, and the transformative friendship they’ve forged, with your help.

Hellen is a mother of five from the rural town of Chepareria, Kenya, and a member of the Pokot Indigenous People. She works hard on her one-acre farm to support her family by selling her crops in the local market.

Sylvia is a Maasai woman from the town of Ololulunga, Kenya, some 250 miles away. In her impoverished, rural town, Sylvia was struggling to find ways to support her family. Her maize crops were dying due to drought. And the extra money she earned from selling what little maize she grew in the market was just not enough. She needed another option to survive.

That’s where MADRE – and you – come in.

With your support, MADRE and our local partner group, the Indigenous Information Network (IIN), bring Indigenous women like Hellen and Sylvia together for community exchanges. We give them an opportunity to visit each other, share ideas on how to raise money for their families, and learn new strategies to combat the impacts of climate change.

Earlier this year, Sylvia made the eight-hour bus journey and traveled to Hellen’s town for a MADRE-supported community exchange because of your generosity. Without this opportunity, Hellen and Sylvia would have never met. For many of the women we support, these exchanges are the first time they will travel outside of their own communities, and the first time they will meet with Indigenous women from different communities.

There’s another reason why their meeting is so unlikely. Indigenous communities in Kenya are often pitted against each other. Sometimes it’s because of resource scarcity linked to climate change. These days, there are growing tensions around the upcoming elections, and many fear outbreaks of violence.

But through your support of MADRE, you bring women together across divides. Exchanges like these are more than just a way for these women to meet one another. They offer women from different communities an essential way to build new alliances and friendships. And they are an effective way to prevent violence. After all, it’s much harder for people to turn against each other when you’ve visited each other’s homes, met each other’s children, and formed meaningful friendships.

And that’s just what Hellen and Sylvia did. When Sylvia visited Hellen’s farm, she was immediately impressed by what she saw. And she got just the life-sustaining idea she’d been searching for.

You see, in addition to farming fruits and vegetables, Hellen started a poultry farm. When she started it a few years ago, she had 500 chickens. Now, she has over 1,500! MADRE provided her with a jiko – an energy-efficient cook-stove – and now, her chickens are thriving. That’s because Hellen made a small tweak to the design, creating a safe warming area for her chicks that ensures their healthy development.

When she needs extra money, she sells her chickens in the market. One chicken sells for 500 Kenyan shillings, roughly $5 USD. This, Hellen tells us, is crucial for her family. It helps her to put food on her table, pay school fees, and care for her children.

Sylvia was immediately inspired by what she saw at Hellen’s home. She thought, “I can do that!

She took a picture of Hellen’s chicken coop, noting the materials and the dimensions to build it herself. And she exchanged phone numbers with Hellen so that she could ask questions and benefit from her guidance and friendship.

Sylvia brought her new knowledge back with her to Ololulunga. And she shared what she learned from her new friend with her community. One short month later, she already has her own poultry farm up and running! She invested in 24 chickens to start. She tells us that each chicken lays one egg per day. Already, she said, she’s earned extra money by selling eggs in the local market, and has raised enough money to pay for her children’s school fees!

Thank you for making this friendship and exchange happen! Through your support, women like Hellen and Sylvia learn life-sustaining strategies from each other. And they form important relationships that otherwise would not be possible.

When you support MADRE, you help women in Kenya and around the world gain the tools they need to provide for their families.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE

In the town of Naramam in West Pokot, Kenya, climate change is wreaking havoc on the lives of women farmers who depend on the land for food, income and survival. The rainy seasons are getting shorter and shorter, and access to much-needed water for drinking and for crops is scarce.

But with your help, women farmers are learning adaptation strategies to combat the impacts of climate change and to secure their families' survival. For example, MADRE and our local partners train Indigenous women to harvest rainwater to last through droughts. And great news! Just two weeks ago, we delivered four new rainwater harvesting tanks for women farmers in Naramam—thanks to your support!

Here are some photos of the women with their new water tanks.

Thank you so much for your support of this vital project! With your support, women and girls can spend less time hauling water from distant, dwindling streams. And families will have enough daily water to drink and to nourish their crops.

(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE
(c) MADRE
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Tree planting (c) IIN
Tree planting (c) IIN

Thanks to your support, MADRE continues to help Indigenous women farmers in Kenya adapt to climate change. Where we work in Kenya, women face persistent drought that threatens their families' survival. But with you by our side, we're bringing tools and training that help women combat the impacts of climate change and raise healthy families.

For example, MADRE and the Indigenous Information Network, our on-the-ground partners, just delivered 30 clean water storage tanks to farming communities in the Transmara region of Kenya. With these clean water tanks, women farmers will be able to store clean drinking water for their families through drought.

What's more, we also delivered over 30,000 seedlings to women farmers there. With these seedlings, women will plant tree nurseries. When you help a woman plant a tree, you help combat deforestation and protect local water sources from erosion and contamination.

Here's a photo of a recent tree planting session.

Thank you so much for your support of this vital project! With your help, Indigenous women farmers in Kenya are learning how to combat climate change to ensure their families' survival.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
MADRE partners at UN climate summit
MADRE partners at UN climate summit

Thank you so much for your support of the Help Women in Kenya Confront Climate Change project. With you by our side, we bring clean water and share strategies to help women farmers battle frequent and severe drought.

But that’s not all your support helps to achieve. With your help, we give local women leaders the skills to advocate for better climate policies, and we bring their important voices to international climate talks.

Just last month, your support helped bring three of our Indigenous Kenyan partners to an international climate summit organized by the United Nations.

Here, our partners called for the inclusion of Indigenous women’s solutions in climate change policies. Here is some of what they said:

Where I come from, we have big problems to get clean drinking water - which is also related to climate change. My organization supports the women of the Indigenous communities, and teaches them to collect rainwater on the roofs of their houses, and gather for dry periods in collecting containers. In addition, we plant trees for our firewood, so that women no longer have to walk for kilometers to collect wood. I am for the first time on a UN climate summit. For me and other representatives of Indigenous communities, it is important that you take our concerns seriously. Together, we have a much stronger voice and can reach policy-makers who often don’t listen to us in our own countries. There we are hardly noticed in what we do, and receive no financial support for our projects. But here, we can be heard. Women play the most important role in our communities; they need empowerment, they carry everything. – Margaret 

Many Indigenous communities in Kenya are able to detect the levels of climate change on their lives. We help them to develop adaptation plans and to express their concerns to the government and be heard. We want the government to actually understand what is at stake. – Edna

Putting women’s expertise at the center of climate negotiations is a vital step to create climate policies that will protect us all.

Thank you for making this work possible!

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

MADRE, An International Women's Human Rights Org.

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @madrespeaks
Project Leader:
Yifat Susskind
New York, NY United States
$2,898 raised of $5,000 goal
 
57 donations
$2,102 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.